Welcome to my rare—that is, quadrennial—attempt to play prognosticator, picking a winner in the race for the White House. Well, join the club, right? Nowadays you can check Twitter and get 100 “expert’ predictions within an hour, or maybe, a minute. What makes mine different, even unique, is that I always base my guess on the editorial endorsements from newspapers in each swing state.
Laughable, you might say, but check out my track record for accuracy, below.
Who cares about newspapers today, or even if you do care, surely you don’t think their endorsements carry any weight (even if, perhaps, they once did). I won’t argue that point at length again. I’ve written several pieces on the subject, such as here, and last weekend I was quoted testifying to this by no less than The New York Times’s new public editor, Margaret Sullivan.
And even I claim that they have a relatively small effect. But in close votes in the swingiest of swing states, everything counts.
But here’s the real reason why you might want to listen up: my record on picking the winner in “battleground” states in 2004 and 2008 might have been unmatched by anyone—and based purely on newspaper endorsements, not polls or common sense or past history.
Perhaps I was just lucky, but my nearly 95 percent record of accuracy (nailing fourteen of fifteen correctly in 2004 and twelve of thirteen in 2008) might mean…something? Remember: while the dead-tree editions of newspapers continue to plunge in readership, many of them actually reach a wider audience than ever, because of the web.
Anyway, when I made these picks previously, I was serving as the editor of “the bible of the newspaper industry,” Editor & Publisher. In those past two elections, E&P was the definitive source for endorsements, logging hundreds of them from papers big and small. This year several new outlets have taken on that chore, but they miss many smaller papers and weeklies. But I’ve always put much more weight on larger papers to begin with, based on circulation.
So here we go. Also, for frequent updates on campaign news and views and polls, try my Pressing Issues blog. Plus: The first e-book on Obama-Romney race has been published–and it's mine! Covers contest right up to yesterday. Or wait for update on Wednesday.
OHIO I’ve written previously that, actually, this state may not decide the election, since Obama (if not Romney) has numerous other paths to victory that do not lead through Ohio. Still, it’s obviously a key, and the four largest newspapers,The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and Toledo Blade (Obama) vs. The Columbus Dispatch and The Cincinnati Enquirer (Romney) are split. So we’ll let number five, the Akron Beacon-Journal, call it for OBAMA.